Since the late ’90s, the function, purpose, and relevance of the internet has evolved greatly. Technology is no longer a luxury, but an important resource; the internet is essential for business promotion, entertainment, and communication.
Social media has become an outlet for adults and teens alike, voicing their opinions to the public via their phone and computer screens. With the press of a button, a teenager has the power to spark a political debate with a stranger online. Because the people have this power, elected officials possess the same power.
Some say that social media is inappropriate for federal politicians, while others argue that the use of Twitter or Snapchat catches the attention of voters and keeps the government in touch with the people.
Is it appropriate for federal politicians to use social media, and should their accounts be monitored?
“I think that politicians using social media isn’t inherently good or bad, but it can amplify whatever their message is. Social media can make anything go viral, from the kindest actions to the most hateful rhetoric. Their accounts should be subject to the same code of conduct the rest of a website’s users are bound by. If they are violating that code of conduct, I see it fit that their account should either be suspended or terminated.”
“I think that politicians will lie about what they want to do while they are campaigning. They tailor what they say to their audience; for example, if the politician believes in gun control but they are talking to a pro-gun crowd, they focus on how they don’t want to take away guns and then they go talk to a pro-gun control group about how they think we need more gun control. [Politicians] stretch what they believe like a net and cast it out trying to haul in the most voters…
Social media is harmful in the way that it allows unchecked news to circulate to anyone. Real news organizations will verify sources and fact check to make sure what they are talking about is accurate. Social media is often some random person with an opinion. This doesn’t mean that we need to immediately shut them down because they don’t have multiple people fact-checking every post, it just means that internet users need to take what is said on social media and check it against reliable sources.”
“I believe some pros of politicians using social media is easily keeping in touch with people, especially younger generations that are more likely to use social media platforms. Also, quickly informing a wide amount of their constituents about relevant topics.
However, this is a double-edged sword and politicians can only inform people with a limited amount of characters so the whole story is not often completely told or there is miscommunication. The other con of politicians using social media, and this goes for everybody, is poor digital citizenship. Bashing people, giving platforms to unreliable sources, and poorly informing the public are thing politicians should not do on social media, but too often do.
I think it is their right to run their own social media, but I feel if they are an elected official, they should have better things to do than tweet at 1 A.M. While politicians running their own social media accounts does [have a] personable touch, if they do not know how to use it respectfully, responsibly, and cannot tell the difference between reliable and unreliable sources, then they should consider allowing their communications team handle it.”
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